LXX RISE OF NADIR KULI 347 out his scheme of usurping the crown. The leading officials in Persia were invited to celebrate the No Ruz, or "New Year's Day," on the plain of Moghan, a celebrated pasture which stretches from the neighbour- hood of Ardebil to the mouth of the Kur. Surrounded with all the attributes of power, the great Conqueror harangued the assembled dignitaries and exhorted them to choose a worthy Shah from among the princes of the blood. As h<^ anticipated, he was unanimously requested to protect Persia and to ascend the vacant throne. After refusing daily for a month, he permitted himself at last to be persuaded by the prayers of the assembly, and so ended the farce.1 The Abolition of the Shia Doctrines.—To his acceptance of the throne was attached the stipulation that the Persian nation should abandon the Shia heresy introduced by the founder of the Safavi dynasty and return to orthodoxy. In his rescript on the subject Nadir wrote : " Since the Shia schism has prevailed, this land has been constantly in disorder. Let us all become Sunnis and this will cease. But, as every national religion should have a head, let the holy Imam Jafar, who is of the family of the Prophet and whom we all reverence, be our head*" According to Hanway, the Chief Mujtahid arose and advised Nadir to confine himself to ruling in temporal matters ; but the sudden death of this dignitary warned his fellow-doctors of law to refrain from opposition. The change was therefore formally approved by the great meeting, although inwardly it must have been detested by the large majority of the Persians who were present In order to make the new departure less unpalatable, Nadir declared his fixed intention to add to the four orthodox sects of the Sunnis—to wit, the Hanifites, the Shafiites, the Malikites, and the Hanbalites—a fifth sect, the Jafarites. By this fundamental change, for which at most a formal assent was gained, Nadir doubtless hoped to make the people of Persia forget the illustrious Safavi dynasty ; perhaps also he dreamed of ruling over a united 1 Abraham of Crete, who was among the dignitaries bvited to the plain of Meghan, gives a full account of the proceedings.